I had the pleasure to meet James Shaw for the first time at the Horse Expo in Denver this spring. Watching him work with riders and horses it struck me how quickly the horses would change once a change happened in the rider.
I decided that I really wanted to learn more and invited James to conduct a three day clinic at my home barn in Black Forest. We had a great group of six riders and four auditors and came away with many new insights.
My plan is to share some of those in the next few weeks as they are still fresh in my mind.
How about a different and better way to post?
Most of us have learned to rise by rolling our thighs and femur inward and get a rather solid connection knee through upper thigh in that phase. As we come back in the saddle we reverse that rotation. "Piece of cake", you say and "Yes, once I have learned that, I always did it like that." Well guess what, the opposite works better.
So that means you try to rotate your femur and upper thigh outward on the rise, and inward on the sit. Why?
With the outward rotation you begin to lift your pelvis - makes a lot of sense since you are trying to rise out of the saddle. But more importantly with the inward rotation in the downward phase you can control your seat as you get back into the saddle. Since the horse has some lift during the trot the saddle moves towards you as you are sitting down but still most people (me included) really cannot control the last 5 to 10% of that phase if the femur rolls out. Now try to opposite - roll out for up and roll in for down - and yes, you can control the very last phase of getting back into the saddle.
Why is that important? If you cannot control it, you literally fall into your horses back every time you sit down - and that is just not comfortable for your horse. Through this lack of control you also rock the saddle forward and backward - even a well fitting saddle.
Another advantage of the new way of posting: You will rise and sit much straighter. Many riders (especially women) tend to stick their behind out in the sit phase. My students know what I call it - the "duck butt". This tends to shift your center of gravity quite a bit forward and backward which makes it difficult for your horse to give you a regular and balanced trot.
So give the new way a try. It will feel awkward at first but once you get used to it, you and your horse will enjoy the posting trot much more.